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Reaction Time and Rapid Serial Processing Measures of Information Processing Speed in Multiple Sclerosis: Complexity, Compounding, and Augmentation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2011

Abbey J. Hughes
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
Douglas R. Denney*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
Sharon G. Lynch
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Douglas R. Denney, Department of Psychology, 1415 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7556. E-mail: denney@ku.edu

Abstract

Information processing speed is frequently cited as the primary cognitive domain impacted by multiple sclerosis (MS) and is usually evaluated with reaction time (RT) or rapid serial processing (RSP) measures. The present study compared the efficacy of RT and RSP measures to distinguish between patients with MS (N = 42) and healthy controls (N = 40). The RT measure was patterned after the Computerized Tests of Information Processing and included measures of simple, choice, and semantic RT. The RSP measures consisted of the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) and the Stroop Test. Substantial differences in information processing speed between patients and controls were found on all tests, with slightly larger effect sizes for RSP measures than RT measures and for the SDMT than the Stroop Test. Binary logistic regression analyses showed RSP measures performed better than RT measures at distinguishing patients from controls, and likewise, the SDMT score performed better than the scores derived from the Stroop Test. Results are discussed in the context of three effects associated with common measures of processing speed: complexity, compounding, and augmentation. (JINS, 2011, 17, 1113–1121)

Type
Regular Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2011

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